UK lags behind in lung cancer care

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Patients are dying needlessly because UK lung cancer treatment is lagging way behind Europe and the US, it was claimed today.

A study of nearly 19,000 patients showed a five per cent increase in the number of patients receiving treatment in 2006 compared with the previous year. But levels are still way behind those offered in many other countries.

The fraction of British patients having surgery – the most effective treatment – remained at nine per cent, while more than 20 per cent of US sufferers had operations. The European average is 26 per cent for those younger than 70 and 14 per cent for those above that age.

Young people were more likely to receive anti-cancer treatment than the elderly, despite the average age for diagnosis being 71 for men and 72 for women.

Mike Unger, the chief executive of the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation, criticises the gap between the UK and other countries: “The Government needs to wake up and have an awareness campaign. Lung cancer is the big cancer killer with the lowest amount of research money going into it.”

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